Ezra Furman - Lousy Connection
After a few aborted attempts over the last year or so, I finally got to see Ezra Furman live this week. Coming less than a week after a colossal performance by John Grant, the gig had a lot to live up to, but Ezra did not disappoint. His band, the boyfriends, were amazing, both with their instruments and with their backing vocals, and Ezra was triumphant with his soulful fury. This track is taken from his latest album (released last year).
Steve Mason - Planet Sizes
A new album from Steve Mason beckons and this is the first single from it. I was never really into the Beta Band, but I've been really pleased with Steve Mason's solo stuff (well, what I've heard anyway).
Beirut – Perth
Sometimes I wonder if my musical tastes are changing as I mellow into middle-age and then I realise that my musical tastes are chosen for me by the music that is fed to me each day by the radio. This has a classic ear worm organ hook...
Animal Collective – FloriDada
... And here's another catchy hook that's lodged itself in my cranium as well as my daughter's and my wife's. Animal Collectives "My Girls" was a real favourite of mine, this is much more poppy and radio-friendly. I shouldn't like it, but I do. And I bet you two do too.
My fifth song would have been the most excellent first single off The Wave Pictures upteenth album, but as they're only releasing it as a very short (1000) run of vinyl LPs then there's no way it's going to turn up on Google Music (would be interested to know if you get any joy from Spotify and Apple though?) So, I then moved onto The Coral (appeared only a few playlists ago, so bad timing), Bob Mould (single and album not out yet, so not currently available online), and Damien Jurado (same). Fifth choice (and I was scraping the bottom of the barrel by now) was
Blossoms - At Most a Kiss
If I had a pound for every time someone prefixes the name of this band with "Stockport's" then I'd have £47.62 by now. A slice of indie pop that's nice to drive to.
So I could have played it safe this month, James have new material out that I really like, Cloud Cult have a new album out that I've been playing regularly, Hot Hot Heat and OK Go both have songs I've been enjoying. However if you aren't in to those bands yet, I'm never going to get you in to those bands. Try these that I've just been getting to know.
The Arcs - Stay In My Corner
I've put this in for Neil although he's probably all over them, what with their Black Keys link Dan Auerbach (guitarist/vocalists).
Richard Lomax - I Cycle
This is my favourite for the month. Anybody who samples a bike noise to set his tune to and makes it work deserves some kudos. I always like it when the artist themselves contact me too, makes me feel like they really care about their music too. Richard is from Manchester and is a pretty prolific writer, having written 52 songs last year. Practice makes perfect.
Bellevue Days - Ripped Jeans
The guys from Croydon are celebrating the announcement of their inclusion on the DIY and Generator Mapped Out Tour. Pop guitar band that ticks the right boxes for me.
Infidelity - Mutineers
For a band who claim to have driven their fan base via social media I can't help but feel driven as they've followed me, unfollowed me and followed me again on Twitter. It's worked though as I've now listened to their material. Another Manchester band, this is off their second album or so I can tell from their other vehicle, Facebook.
Icarus - Vagabond Poets
A footstomping track to end my five. A Scottish unsigned band, or that's what my research tells me. Guess I must have found it on Spotify then.
3WTM February 2016 – Chris’s Choices
Hmm – I think this has been a good month for ‘Prog’. I would share a Steven Wilson track from his new album (4 ½), and it would probably be ‘Don’t Hate Me’ – all 9:35 of it, but he’s not into streaming services, so it won’t be available to you, and so it won’t make its way onto this month’s playlist. However, the prog gods have been generous this month and I think I should make mention of Dream Theater’s ‘The Astonishing’. It is a concept album (which I like) it is a double album (over 2 hours in total) and it has been produced on a big scale (with a full orchestra and choir in places). It tells a story of a future in which there is no music, save for that made by machines, but a hero comes along to bring song to the lives of the repressed masses. It is generally very good, but a bit cheesy in places. It won’t feature on my playlist this month, but ‘The Gift Of Music’ is a fairly representative track which sets the scene for the rest of the album.
So – enough about what I’m not putting on, and on to what I am putting on.
‘Swimming Horses’ by The Mute Gods from ‘Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me’ (2016).
The Mute Gods are a recently formed outfit consisting of various talented musicians who have been doing the rounds for a while including Nick Beggs (the bassist from Kajagoogoo) who wrote most of the material.
‘2013’ by Sunflower Bean from the album ‘Human Ceremony’ (2016)
This is a good album of jangly guitar tunes. Sunflower Bean are a new band from Brooklyn. This probably isn’t the best track on the album, but is good and I’ve chosen it because it links with one of Neil’s tracks from last month which was taken from an album called 2013, despite being released in 2016. In fact, listening now, I think ‘Come On’ would have been a better selection and certainly up Neil’s street, but I’m sticking with ‘2013’.
‘Sauna’ by Gazebos from ‘Die Alone’ (2016)
This is probably in a similar vein. Gazebos are another new act – this time from Seattle. I’ve not yet heard the album all the way through.
‘You and I’ by Margaret Glaspy (single) (2016)
Margaret Glaspy doesn’t have a huge amount of material out on Apple Music – 7 tracks – 5 from an EP in 2013 and then two from her recent single. Apparently she’s got an album coming out in the summer. Anyway, this track is fairly raw, straightforward (drums, bass, single guitar from what I can hear) short and catchy.
So … to redress the balance, another long track …
‘Future You’ by LNZNDRF from ‘LNZNDRF’ (2016)
OK – so this is an instrumental track. I’ve chosen it again because of a link with one of Neil’s track. LNZNDRF (my fingers have trouble typing that) are a side-project comprising members of The National (Devendorfs) and Beirut (Lanz). This album is just out and features 4 instrumental tracks and 4 vocal tracks. Again, I’ve not listened to it all yet, but what I have heard is very good. This track is a builder and is the opener to the album.